ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt is familiar with the ebbs and flows of the NHL.
Schmidt and the Golden Knights continued their surge on Friday night while keeping the Anaheim Ducks in a funk.
Max Pacioretty scored in his return to the Vegas lineup and the Golden Knights extended their winning streak to five games, beating the Ducks 3-2 Friday night.
The Golden Knights fell behind in the second period when the Ducks scored two goals 18 seconds apart. But Vegas retook the lead with two goals in a 31-second span to improve to 6-0-2 in their last eight games.
“We sure tested ourselves a few times early in the second period. But, again, we found a way to win and we’re never going to apologize for that,” said Schmidt, who scored for Vegas. “As the year goes on, you are going to have your surges and a couple times when you’re not playing that well, but I thought our guys, even when we’re down in the game or we’re not playing that well, we find ways to get ourselves back in.”
Tomas Nosek had a goal and an assist, Marc Andre-Fleury made 25 saves, and Vegas secured the first three games of the teams’ four-game season series.
Nosek tied it at 2-all at 10:15 of the second period. He reached around John Gibson and backhanded in a rebound of a shot by Brayden McNabb. Pacioretty put Vegas back in front 3-2 at 10:46.
Playing for the first time since Dec. 17 and missing seven games because of an undisclosed injury, Pacioretty got behind two Ducks in transition and scored off a pass from Paul Stastny.
It was the seventh time Pacioretty and Stastny have played together this season, as both have dealt with injuries. But chemistry displayed on Pacioretty’s 11th goal showed why Vegas signed Stastny as a free agent in July, traded for Pacioretty in September and signed him to a contract extension.
“It’s been a start to the season that no one drew up with injuries and playing through them and sitting out for both of us,” Pacioretty said. “To be able to come in now and feel pretty good and kind of start from scratch and put together a good win as a line is a good step.”
Daniel Sprong and Carter Rowney scored for the Ducks, who dropped to 0-5-2 in their last seven games. Gibson made 39 saves.
Sprong scored on the power play at 1:57 to tie the game at 1. Rowney then put the Ducks ahead 2-1 at 2:15 by catching the Golden Knights on an odd-man rush.
“If we can put the good minutes we had this night, if we can put them over like more of 50, 60 minutes, we’re going to be successful,” Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm said.
The Golden Knights took a 1-0 lead at 6:52 on the first period when Schmidt scored on a slap shot from the blue line through traffic during a delayed penalty. Gibson made a save and paddled the puck away during the buildup to Schmidt’s fourth goal, but the officials did not stop play.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he never receiver an explanation why there was not a whistle, and refused to elaborate on the sequence.
“I’ve been fined once before, so my wife doesn’t like me writing big checks to the league,” Carlyle said.
NOTES: The Golden Knights improved to 16-0-2 when leading after two periods. . Vegas F Alex Tuch had an assist to extend his point streak to five games, with two goals and four assists in that span. . Vegas D Shea Theodore did not play because of illness.
Golden Knights: Host New Jersey on Sunday.
Ducks: Host Edmonton on Sunday.
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